Active Projects

The staff and students in the LDRC are working on a wide variety of projects on languages around the world. Several of these, including past projects, are summarized in the pages on this site.

Totonac Documentation Project

This project is aimed at the documentation of languages in the Totonac branch of the Totonacan language family, spoken in East Central Mexico. It began initially with work on Upper Necaxa Totonac and has since expanded to include intensive work in neighbouring languages, Zuhuateutla Totonac, Coahutilán Totonac, and Tepezintla/Ozomatlán Totonac. The project has conducted more limited field work in several other Totonac communities.
  • field visits beginning in 1998
  • SSHRC funding since 2001
  • students involved in fieldwork since 2003
The UNT project has been working on
  • practical and academic dictionaries
  • electronic lexical database with sound files and moprhological analyses
  • reference grammar and morphological model
  • analyzed texts, paper and audio archives
  • L1 acquisition
  • historical reconstruction
  • language displacement and ideologies
  • collection of ethnobotanical materials
More information: Upper Necaxa Totonac Project Website
  • Project director: David Beck
  • Researchers: Michelle Garcia-Vega, Devin Moore, Rachel McGraw, Conor Snoek

T. M. Hess Collection

Thom Hess in his office at UVic in 2001 The Thomas Melville Hess Collection consists of documentary materials on the indigenous languages of the Pacific Northwest recorded by the eminent linguist Thom Hess have been donated to Special Collections at UofA. It includes extensive audio recordings and field notes on Lushootseed, as well as other Salishan and Wakashan materials. In the course of this project
  • tapes will be digitized
  • typed transcripts will be digitized and paired with recordings
  • materials will be analyzed and analyses included with documentary materials
  • on-line access will be provided to some materials
  • Project director: David Beck

Lushootseed Project

The Salishan language Lushootseed, spoken in the Puget Sound area of Washington State and the Upper Skagit River, has only a handful of fluent elder speakers remaining, yet — thanks largely to the efforts of Thomas M. Hess and his teachers and collaborators — the language has been well documented, though much of the material remains in unpublished or inaccessible form. This project seeks to compile and analyze the exisiting materials. Currently, we are working on:
  • interlinearized searchable corpus of ca. 5,300 lines created from transcribed material
  • XML database of lexical suffixes
The final goal of this project is the creation of a reference grammar and a collection of analyzed texts.
  • Project director: David Beck

Totonac Ethnobotany

An essential part of language documentation is the recording of traditional ecological knowledge, one of the earliest casualties of language displacement. In June of 2015, we began the collection and determination of plant species listed in the Upper Necaxa Totonac Dictionary . The web pages on this site represent 249 collections made in the Necaxa Valley, accompanied by ethnobotanical data provided by our consultants, primarily Longino Barragán Sampayo (Ch.), Porfirio Sampayo Macín (Pt.), and Marcelo Mendoza Orega (Pt.). Photography by Jonathan Amith and Jaime Canek Ledesma. Determinations courtesy Jonathan Amith.
Un aspecto fundamental de la documentación de lenguas indígenas es el registro de los conocimientos ecológicos tradicionales que son una de las primeras pérdidas del desplazamiento lingüístico. En el junio de 2015, empezamos la colección y la determinación de las especies botánicas que se encuentran en el Upper Necaxa Totonac Dictionary . Las páginas web de este sitio representan 249 colecciones del valle del Río Necaxa y les acompañan datos etnobotánicos aportados por nuestros asesores, principalmente Longino Barragán Sampayo (Ch.), Porfirio Sampayo Macín (Pt.) y Marcelo Mendoza Orega (Pt.). Las fotos son de Jonathan Amith y Jaime Canek Ledesma. Las determinaciones provienen de Jonathan Amith.*index.html
  • Project director: David Beck

Arutani-Sapé Language Project

This project focuses on two language isolates spoken on the border between Venezuela and Brazil: Arutani and Sapé. With less than a handful of speakers remaining for both languages, the project seeks to gather as much material as possible from current speakers and from legacy materials.

Maskwacîs Plains Cree Project

This project combines the creation of applications with research on language strucure and acquisition, through, for example, monitoring the behavior of learners using the applicaiions. The project also involves the collection and digitization of textual resources into corpora, both as a means of tool-testing and as a research objective of its own.

Sáliban Languages Project

This project focuses on the Sáliban language Family (Sáliba, Piaroa, & Mako) of Venezuela and Colombia. The main goals are to document and describe these little-known and endangered languages in collaboration with the speaker communities.

Language Documentation Projects & Textbook Development

This project involves the creation of a Dene Dháh dictionary, Dene Dháah digital narratives corpus, Hän dictionary, Stoney (Northern & Southern dialect) dictionary, and Beaver dictionary.

 ʔayʔaǰuθəm (a.k.a. Comox-Sliammon) documentation

ʔayʔaǰuθəm is traditionally spoken by members of the Tla’amin, Homalco, Klahoose, and K’ómoks First Nations along the Northern Georgia Strait in British Columbia. The four sister nations are partnering with linguists from the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, and University of Victoria on two major documentary projects: a dictionary and a teaching grammar. Both are meant to be resources for learners and teachers, as well as providing the framework for comprehensive documentation of this highly endangered language.

Past Projects

Kichwa-English Dictionary Temne Language Documentation Dinka Language Documentation